Brussels police have registered a dozen crimes near the Jeux d'Hiver nightclub in Bois de la Cambre, reported Bruzz. However, underreporting is likely as "that figure is much lower than in reality", according to Brussels Police Councillor Solange Pitroipa from Mouvement Réformateur (MR), who added that "gangs operate in the area".
"Overwhelming. I have no other word for the serious violence to which young people are increasingly exposed on their way to the Bois de la Cambre and nightclub Jeux d'Hiver," said Pitroipa, who works with Brussels Mayor Philippe Close from the PS.
"Several violent incidents are regularly reported by young people. They are ambushed by city gangs and physically attacked. That has to stop."
In Brussels, a woman reports what happened to her son near the nightclub. "He was attacked in the Bois de la Cambre while he was on his way to Jeux d'Hiver with two friends. A guy who was probably on the lookout then shouted something unintelligible, after which my son and his friends were surrounded by fifteen men and were beaten to a pulp."
Despite such incidents, Close denies the widespread presence of gangs near the night club.
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"When analysing the statistics for the whole of the Bois de la Cambre and the adjacent streets, four fights, two violent robberies and one theft from a vehicle with violence, were reported for the first six months of the year," said Close.
"The police services are not aware of the emergence of a city gang in the vicinity of the nightclub."
Yet given the incidents, Close has promised to send in more patrols in and near the park, particularly at night and early in the morning in order to prevent attacks and intervene when necessary.
But according to Pirtropa, additional forces is not enough. "There are victims who do not dare to file a complaint, others who do not do so because they consider it pointless. If there is no crackdown, I fear a significant increase in crime rates in and around the park."